Posted: 3 months ago

Kakheti Hosts First Basque-Georgian Culinary Congress: A Fusion of Tradition and Innovation

On March 2nd, Kakheti became the melting pot of culinary arts with the inaugural Gastronomic Congress of Georgia and Basque Country — Culinary Connection Euskadi-Georgia. The congress brought together chefs from both regions, providing a platform for an exchange of culinary experiences and techniques.

The Basque Country, known for its gastronomic revolution four decades ago, has set a benchmark in innovative cooking while preserving traditional Basque cuisine. This event highlighted the similarities between Georgian and Basque gastronomy, both rich in tradition and eager for innovation.

During the event, panel discussions focused on traditional cooking techniques, with an emphasis on grilling as a pivotal component. Joxe Mari Aizega, Director of the Basque Culinary Center, and Bittor Oroz, Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Policy, highlighted the shared gastronomic passion between Georgians and Basques, foreseeing successful collaborations.

The congress wasn't just about discussions; it was a showcase of culinary craftsmanship. Georgian chefs Tekuna Gachechiladze and Luka Todua, alongside their Basque counterparts, demonstrated innovative approaches to traditional dishes. The Basque chefs shared their secrets on preserving the natural flavors of ingredients, with Chef Enrique Fleischmann presenting a vacuum technique for drying mushrooms.

Chef Juan Carlos Caro emphasized the importance of choosing quality products and supporting small-scale farmers for a sustainable economy and superior taste.

Chef Gachechiladze shared her inspiration from Basque innovation, expressing a newfound desire to pioneer modern Georgian cuisine. She experimented with traditional Georgian ingredients to create contemporary dishes like Ellarji balls, inspired by Basque croquettes.

Chef Todua focused on reimagining Georgian cuisine staples in novel forms, emphasizing the responsibility of presenting Georgian cuisine in a fresh light.

The congress concluded with Enrique Fleischmann acknowledging the untapped potential within Georgian cuisine, urging its promotion on a global scale.

Organized with the support of the Bank of Georgia, the Culinary Connection Euskadi-Georgia aims to be an annual event to foster culinary skill sharing, promote gastro-tourism, and evolve Georgian cuisine. This initiative represents a commitment to supporting innovative projects that enhance the gastronomic landscape of Georgia.

Blog by Bank of Georgia